The MHS Advantage

The US Military has announced the results of its Modular Handgun System Program (MHS) with the +$580 million dollar contract awarded to SIG Sauer for its P-320/XM-17 service pistol design. The contracted dollar value is spread over ten years, and involves an estimated 287,000 pistols.

While the adoption of a new pistol for military applications is newsworthy, it is the civilian availability of submitted pistols that creates the MHS advantage for AmmoDigger readers and legal firearms users.

To meet the specifications of the adoption, major firearm manufacturers necessarily produced some amazing handguns – and many, if not all, will see versions positioned for the personal protection market.

The MHS requirement called for a pistol design with modular features to allow for options including different fire control devices, pistol grips, and magazines. It was an open-caliber design, originally calling for accommodations for the .40 S&W and .45 ACP .357 SIG or FN 5.7×28mm, although the military ultimately settled on the 9mm. There had to be fully ambidextrous controls and ergonomic considerations to promote control for various sized hands. Summary: these pistols offer a high degree of flexibility to accommodate a wide range of users and deployments.

Next, the pistol must exhibit reliability performance of 2,000 rounds between stoppages, 10,000 rounds between mechanical failures, and a service life of 35,000 rounds. And the pistols had to accommodate ammunition functioning at 20% higher pressure than typical 9mm ammunition (handles ammo that might be acquired on foreign battlefields) Summary: these pistol potentially exhibit superiority of reliability and mechanical endurance.

For accuracy considerations, submitted pistols needed to have a 90 percent or more chance of hitting in a 4-inch circle out to 50 meters consistently throughout the weapon’s lifetime. Summary: great hit potential for novice through expert users.

And the pistol must have compatibility with tactical lights, lasers, sights, and sound suppressors. Summary: rails or attachment points for a wide range of add-ons.

These specifications mean a set of potentially extraordinary pistols! We can make no recommendations, but a starting point might be this list of pistols and our list of contact information for each manufacturer.

~ Editors

Pistols to look for are:

Beretta: APX
CZ: P-09 MHS
FNH: FN 509
Glock: Models 17 and 22
SIG Sauer: P320 MHS
Smith & Wesson: M&P
Sturm, Ruger & Co: Ruger American Pistol (designed to spec but did not submit)

Beretta USA Corp.
17601 Beretta Drive
Accokeek, MD 20607
Telephone: 1-800-BERETTA

P.O. Box 171073
Kansas City, KS 66117-0073
Toll-free: 1-800-955-4486
Phone: (913) 321-1811
Fax: (913) 321-2251

FN Commercial Sales,
FN Law Enforcement Sales
and FN Military Sales
PO Box 9424
McLean, VA 22102
Phone: 703-288-3500
Fax: 703-288-4507

6000 Highlands Parkway
Smyrna, GA 30082

72 Pease Boulevard
Newington, NH 03801
Phone: 603-610-3000
Fax: 603-610-3001

Smith & Wesson
2100 Roosevelt Avenue
Springfield, MA 01104
Telephone: 1-800-331-0852
Fax: 1-413-747-3317 (USA)

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc.
411 Sunapee Street
Newport, NH 03773
Telephone: 336-949-5200
Fax: 603-863-6165

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